Let’s go to the movies – Friday February 10 – February 16, 2012

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Now playing in Pattaya

War Horse: US, Drama/ History/ War – Steven Spielberg’s ode to horses and World War I trench warfare.  Fine adventure story, beautifully handled and photographed, told by a master at engaging your emotions.  But for me it’s way too pretty a picture for a setting of such horror.  Take it as a great kid’s story and adventure film.  Stars Emily Watson and David Thewlis.  Generally favorable reviews.  Pattaya Beach only.

Safe House: (Scheduled.) US/ South Africa, Action/ Crime/ Mystery/ Thriller – A young CIA agent is tasked with looking after a fugitive in a safe house.  But when the safe house is attacked, he finds himself on the run with his charge.  With Denzel Washington, Robert Patrick, and Ryan Reynolds.  Denzel does not play a nice guy in this film at all; be warned.  Rated R in the US for strong violence throughout and some language.  No reviews yet.

The Woman in Black: (Scheduled.) UK/ Canada/ Sweden, Drama/ Horror/ Thriller – With Ciarán Hinds and Daniel Radcliffe.  Radcliffe plays against his Harry Potter stereotype very nicely in this well-crafted thriller that is slow and features chills, not gore.  He plays a young lawyer who travels to a remote English village where he discovers that the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.  Generally favorable reviews.

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace: (Scheduled.) US, Action/ Adventure/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi – The recounting of the beginning of the Star Wars story, from 1999, tinkered with by director and writer George Lucas, and recast in 3D, in what you have to assume is a superb transformation.  Don’t miss the opportunity to see this classic again on the big screen.  Mixed or average reviews for the 1999 original.

The Lady: (Scheduled.) France/ UK, Biography/ Drama – This is the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, the woman who is at the core of Burma’s democracy movement.  Stars Michelle Yeoh and David Thewlis (who gives a sterling, brilliant performance as her husband – much better than the poor script deserves); directed by Luc Besson.  Rated R in the US for violence, including some bloody images; 13+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews.  I think it’s a ploddingly conventional tribute to the heroic Burmese activist.  Besson seems out of his element here, with the result that his film is dull.  But, even imperfectly told, Aung San Suu Kyi’s story remains astonishingly powerful and moving.

Man on a Ledge: US, Crime/ Thriller – As a police psychologist works to talk down an ex-con who is threatening to jump from a Manhattan hotel rooftop, the biggest diamond heist ever committed is in motion.  The previews play heavily on the fear of falling, making one who is afraid of heights, like me, very uncomfortable indeed.  Stars Sam Worthington, Elizabeth Banks, and Jamie Bell.  Mixed or average reviews, saying that uninspired acting and preposterous plotlines defuse it’s mildly intriguing premise.  English, except Thai-dubbed at Big C.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island: US, Action/ Adventure/ Family/ Fantasy/ Sci-Fi – A follow-up to the 2008 Journey to the Center of the Earth. Josh Hutcherson, reprising his role from the first film, receives a coded distress signal from a mysterious island where no island should exist.  He partners with his mom’s boyfriend on a mission to find the source of the signal, which they think was sent by his missing grandfather.  With Dwayne Johnson and Michael Caine.  Mixed or average reviews.  In 3D and 2D at Pattaya Beach, 3D at Major, and both 3D (Thai-dubbed) and 2D (English) at Big C..

What’s Your Number?: US, Comedy/ Romance – With Anna Faris, Chris Evans, Ari Graynor, and Blythe Danner.  Faris’ character runs into one of her exes who is now a Prince Charming, so she decides to look up all of her exes to see if any of them have changed for the better.  When she has trouble locating them all, she asks her neighbor, who sleeps with women every night and sneaks out the morning after to avoid talking to them, to help her in her search for the perfect man among her twenty ex-lovers.  Rated R in the US for sexual content and language; 13+ in Thailand.  Generally unfavorable reviews, saying in general it’s full of lively and crude sexual banter, and discussions of hookups and sex.  Reviews say the film is funnier and more accessible than you might imagine, and certainly keeps the genre headed in an ever-dirtier direction.  Pattaya Beach only.

First Kiss / Rak Sud Tai Pai Na: Thai, Drama/ Romance – In this romantic comedy, a single girl, 25, meets a grade-12 boy student on a bus.  Fate plays trick with them when, minutes after they met, they accidentally kiss as they both try to stick their heads out the same window to watch a roadside accident.  He is now determined to win her heart, despite his inexperience and the age difference.  Can a high-schooler court an office girl?  Will the boy have enough romantic tricks in his bag to win the heart of the older woman?  Will this movie give you the answer?  Thai only at all locations.

Underworld 4: Awakening: US, Action/ Fantasy/ Horror – To gauge from the previews, it’s more of the same, so if you’ve been enthralled by the epic battle between Vampires and Lycans, as delineated so noisily and violently in the first three episodes, then this is for you.  Kate Beckinsale, star of the first two films, returns in the lead role as the vampire warrioress Selene, who escapes imprisonment to find herself in a world where humans have discovered the existence of both Vampire and Lycan clans, and are conducting an all-out war to eradicate both species.  Rated R in the US for strong violence and gore, and for some language; 15+ in Thailand.  In 2D only now, English at Pattaya Beach, Thai-dubbed at Big C; not at Major.  Mixed or average reviews, saying in general there’s more vapid action and less story in this installment, which makes the whole affair feel inconsequential.

ATM Er Rak Error: Thai, Comedy – This Thai Romantic Comedy has to do with a wayward ATM machine that gives out too much cash.  Number one in Thailand, and a big hit.  English subtitles all locations.

Panya Raenu 2: Thai, Comedy/ Drama – The sequel to Panya Raenu, continuing the story of friendship between Panya and Raenu.  This time they’ve added the popular Petchtai Wongkamlao (Mum Jokmok), and Tukkie to the cast.  Now shown in Thai-only.

Contraband: US/ UK, Action/ Crime/ Drama/ Thriller – To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills.  With Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi, and Kate Beckinsale.  Rated R in the US for violence, pervasive language, and brief drug use; 18+ in Thailand.  Mixed or average reviews, saying that, as mindless action capers go, this is a little less mindless than some.  Not at Big C.